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Old 05-11-2003, 01:57 AM   #1
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help what to buy what not to buy

i am wanting to start a new saltwater reef tank. i have a 50 gal acrylic tank and an eheim 2017 filter. what do i need to do this. im very experienced in fresh water as i have a couple of tanks that are in great living order. my salt water tank is going to be located on the second floor in a closet with an opening for viewing. i.e. in wall tank. do i need a skimmer? do i need a chiller? how about a heater? what is a uv filter and do i need one? any help you can provide is welcomed greatly.
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Old 05-11-2003, 08:47 AM   #2
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I would suggest reading the article(home page-articles) on the Berlin method of filtration first. IMO, you'll be better off with a skimmer. You will need a heater. The chiller will depend on how warm the house is and how much lighting you're putting on the tank. I don't think you need a UV filter. Keep reading and ask around before you buy anything.
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Old 05-11-2003, 09:17 AM   #3
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Greetings.

As to what you need, it depends on what you want to keep. Do you have any lighting for the tank?

If you just want to keep fish, you can get by with NO fluorescents and the filter. If you are going the way of fish with live rock(FOWLR), you'll need to remove the filter media from you eheim and just use it for circulation.

You will also need aragonite sand, enough to make a DSB of 4 inches. The skimmer depends on what kind of livestock you are going to have, if they are messy eaters, you will need one. The chiller will depend on the kind of lighting you are going to have. The heater will be a good idea to have two, just in case one fails. One heater set at 82F and the other at 80F. As the wattage I'm not too sure if two 200W will be enough for the tank. The UV filter is a device which contains a bulb inside which gives out Ultra Violet rays to the water and kills any bacteria, parasites, etc. which are free floating in the water. You don't need one as long as you have good quarantine habits.

If you are going to keep corals, you will need two 175W MH bulbs and a couple of fans to keep them cool. You will also need a sump to help cool the water and aerate it. You will also need, to start, a bag of Instant Ocean salt for 50gals., you will need a hydrometer or a refractometer to measure the tank's specific gravity which should be between 1.024 to 1.026(NSW).

Hmmm let's see, I think I'm forgetting something. Anyone else would like to share thoughts?
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Old 05-11-2003, 12:30 PM   #4
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I have my heaters set to keep my tank close to 82F. Chillers are not needed unless a) your house is not airconditioned or b) you have very high powered lights and poor gasexhcnage.

WIth the aid of some small fans and some good surface movment your tank can expell alot of heat naturally via evaporation. I would first start under the principle that you wont need one and only add one when its been proven you cant keep the tank temp down otherwise.

Can you give us more detials as to what you want to keep? Do you want a fish only setup with fake corals? Do you want a fish setup with live rock? Or do you want to go REEF.

Each has its own unique requriements or lack there of. For example a reef system needs much higher quality water and much brigher lights than a fish only system.

What fish are you looking about keeping? I would make sure you provide plenty of area in and around the tank for servicing awell.
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Old 05-12-2003, 03:57 AM   #5
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thanks! i am planning on starting out with a blue damsel, a yellowtail damsel we definately want anemonies,some stars, crab, shrimp i guess we want a reef? what is the difference between the two (reef and fowlr) i really have no clue. i thought that a reef has fish and has live rock. thanks again
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:54 AM   #6
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IMO, in a FOWLR, you have fish and a sufficient quantity of LR to handle the bio filtration. In a reef, there is a much larger diversity as you are keeping inverts such as corals, sponges, anemones, ect... The reef will require somewhat higher water quality than the FOWLR also.
A word of warning about the damsels...they are GREAT fish, but sometimes do not mix well. Quite often, only one can be kept due to their aggressive nature. Your best bet would be to research this thoroughly and come up with a list of fish you would like to keep. Then add the least aggressive first and the most aggressive last. Anemones are another critter that often suffers from not being researched. Many anemones are photosynthetic and have very high light requirements. They are something best left alone until you have some more knowledge of caring for marine inverts and have a mature tank. Quite a few of the creatures available at most LFS's are not reef safe. Some will eat your corals. Some will wreck your DSB.
Even on a 50g tank, you can drop a couple of thousand $$$ on equipment and still have all the wrong stuff. Research this thoroughly before you buy anything...equipment or livestock. I would suggest posting here before buying also as you can get opinions from people who have already tried it and can tell you if it works or not. A properly set up tank can be a wonderful addition to your home. An improperly set up tank can be your worst nightmare. You're on the right track so far and we hope to be able to help you with it.
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Old 05-12-2003, 01:58 PM   #7
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so can you guys suggest other great starter fish? also now that i know about the reef being a little more difficult ie water quality and so on i think im going to start with a fowlr. do i need a sump? if so what size would be best? is there a site i can visit that can show and tell? besides here of course! and by the way this place has been a great source of info for me. i really appreciate it thanks to everyone so far.
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Old 05-13-2003, 12:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blhigbee
so can you guys suggest other great starter fish?
Damsels are great starter fish. I'd start with one though. Green chromis are good starter fish also and somewhat more peaceful than the other damsels.
Quote:
do i need a sump? if so what size would be best?
You don't need a sump...you can use all hang on back (HOB) equipment. IMO, a sump is a great addition to the tank as it gives you more water volume and a place to put all your equipment.
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Old 05-13-2003, 01:44 AM   #9
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so i think i got it now . well maybe here goes: a 50 gal tank with 600 gph flow spread between the wavemaker powerheads x4 and a 400 gph overflow to sump with a protein skimmer and a 4x36w helios fixture. need a good base of live sand 4" or so. a good 40lbs of live rock to start. is this close or am i so far off i should just go ahead and stick to cooking my seafood.
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Old 05-13-2003, 02:12 PM   #10
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That sounds like a great start to me. You can build it up from there.
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